If you’re a Microsoft Windows user you probably know that you’ll need the 25 digit Windows Activation Key (also called the PID) if you ever need to re-install Windows on your PC.
The Activation Key / PID was easy to find with Windows 7 and previous versions since it was written either on the CD/DVD packaging or somewhere on the computer itself.
But if you have recently purchased a PC with Windows 8 or 8.1 pre-installed, you’ll likely find that the Windows Activation Key / PID is nowhere to be found. Why Microsoft decided not to provide it to us with the new versions of Windows is beyond me, but there is a very easy way to retrieve it from the Registry. Here’s how:
1 – Download a free utility called ProduKey from this page onto your computer’s Desktop. You’ll find the download links near the bottom of the page just before the list of supported languages.
Click the top download link if your PC is running 32 bit Windows. Click the second download link for the 64 bit version.
2 – Unzip the contents of the zip file by right-clicking on it and then clicking Extract all.
3 – Open the newly created unzipped Produkey folder.
4 – Right-click on the ProduKey.exe file, then click Run as administrator. The program will run and immediately display the Activation Keys / PIDs for all of your installed Microsoft software, including the Windows installation.
5 – Write down the 25 digit Windows Product Key listed there and store it in a safe place. I suggest taping it to either the bottom, side or back of your PC’s case.
Important: You’ll need to retrieve the Activation Key/PID from the registry using ProduKey (and write it down) BEFORE you need to re-install Windows since you won’t be able to retrieve it if Windows fails to start up.
That’s all there is to it. Good luck!